Starting Five

Save Dr. Fauci!

Don’t know if these reports are overblown, but CNN has a story posted this morning that reads “Dr. Anthony Fauci Forced To Beef Up Security As Death Threats Increase.”

To begin with, the “Anthony” in the hed is rather superfluous, no? Are there other Dr. Fauci types out there in the public realm? Second, “increase?!?” Why were there any in the first place?

Could it be that MAGA Nation loathes Dr. Fauci for making Donald Trump look bad (over… and over… and over again)? It’s one of the great rarely spoken truths about the Trump Virus: he has, for a large swath of this nation, legitimized ignorance. Made folks proud of their stupidity, or their inability to grasp grammar (while arguing on Twitter… don’t enter an auto race if you don’t know how to shift gears), or to understand how government works, etc.

MAGA really stands for Make Ignorance Great Again and I know that doesn’t work as an acronym, but that’s kind of the point with these people, now isn’t it? It doesn’t matter if it’s stupid as long as they believe in it.

Labor Pains

A record 6.6 MILLION Americans filed for unemployment insurance last week (we are not among them), which more than doubles what Department of Labor officials were expecting. There’s been a lot of that going around lately, hasn’t there?

A quick editorial (as if there’s ever anything more to this site): If times are tough, we get it. File for unemployment. Sadly, though, our experience, and this is anecdotal, we’re not saying EVERYONE (hoping this staves off a letter from a younger loyal reader), is that most younger adults view the government as its rich uncle. They’ll take a side job and still file for unemployment. Or earn enough in six-plus months and then file for unemployment as their five-month vacation plan.

To us, that’s sad. And wrong. WE are the government (I know… I’m SO naive). America is not only a melting pot, but it’s a pot-luck supper. If you don’t bring a dish, you shouldn’t be at the party.

Again, I know we are living in difficult times, perhaps the most difficult of our lives. And if you’ve looked for work and cannot find any, then by all means. All I can say is that, Me, I’ll work almost any job before sitting at home and waiting for a check from Uncle Sam. And yes, I know the government screws us ten ways to Sunday and that we all pay into unemployment in our pay checks. I just hold out this naive thought that that money is for the desperate and the needy, not for the “I’m-drinking-quarantinis-and-watching-Netflix-til-this-all-blows-over” crowd.

And people call me a liberal…

From Playoffs To Layoffs

No Giannis for awhile

This week Sports Illustrated announced that it would be laying off 9% of its staff. Senior writer Chris Ballard, who had been with SI for at least 20 years, was one of those let go. Dig, it’s difficult to gin up much interest in sports web sites and publications when there are no sports taking place (it’s the reason I let my subscription to Conductors of Classical Music For Kids run out).

It’ll be interesting to see when all the other feet begin to drop at other sites. On the one hand (which you should have washed), you have a captive audience as like no other time. On the other, I don’t care much about sports these days, do you?

And ESPN, well, their approach has been far from revolutionary, from what I’ve seen (David Faber on CNBC this morning: “They’re airing stone-skipping on ESPN.” Not sure if he was or wasn’t being facetious, but it wouldn’t surprise me; Faber’s just salty cuz he cannot get in his daily swim at NYAC; I feel you, David).

By the way, my boss at my new job tells our co-workers that “he writes for ESPN.” This is the second person I’ve met this year who, when being told I wrote for Sports Illustrated, automatically turns it around in his head that I write for ESPN. That, my friends, is solid branding.

And also a sign of the times.


This week the Medium Happy Book Club suggests Random Harvest, by James Hilton. Released in 1941, it’s a wonderful love story revolving around a World War I—known then as The Great War… hey, Star Wars wasn’t originally known as “A New Hope,” either— British soldier (played in the 1942 film by Ronald Coleman, above), who experiences shell shock and loses all memory of his life before the war.

Then, in a fascinating twist, he falls and hits his head again, which renders him able to remember who he was, but nothing about the previous two years from Armistice Day through a very affectionate courtship and marriage (the lass is played by MH dream girl Greer Garson).

Without spoiling it (too much), and while thanking our cousin M. for turning us on to the tome, we’ll note that most readers likely will find the last page or two the most affecting. For us, it was different. It happens earlier in the book when our British soldier, fearing that he has badly misbehaved and embarrassed himself (he hadn’t), runs away from the lass and her friends as far as he can (to a distant town, in an idyllic setting). She tracks him down, however.

“There’s only this between us, Smithy,” she says. “I remember when you needed me, and I’m sure I’m not going to hang around when you don’t need me any more. But I thought you might need me today—that’s why I’m here.”

We could all use someone like that in our lives, no? Or, better yet, be someone like that.

Radiation Vibe

You may have read that Adam Schlesinger, co-founder of the band Fountains of Wayne, died of complications due to the coronavirus. He was 52. Schlesinger and fellow co-founder Chris Collingwood met as freshmen at Williams College (the Harvard of non-Ivy League schools) but would not found the band until a few years after they graduated.

The Nineties Alternative Nation favorites are best known for “Stacy’s Mom,” but here’s the hit for true believers. Schlesinger, who played bass, was nominated for an Oscar for co-writing “That Thing You Do,” from the eponymous Tom Hanks film from 1997 (so there’s your circular coronavirus linkage).

7 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. 10 million people filed for unemployment benefits in the last two weeks. What percentage do you honestly think are in the “quarantini and Netflix” group you describe, using the benefits as a “five month vacation plan?” As opposed to actually needing the benefits for for rent, living expenses, feeding families, etc.?

    • Ironically, Wally, I was unable to reply in a timely fashion yesterday as I was at my new job. To answer your question, I have no idea what percentage. I do know in the past from personal experience at restaurant jobs of co-workers who treat unemployment as their deserved vacation time. Again, in the present I feel for everyone, which included me, who found themselves out of work. I was getting steady work at SI right before this happened and now that’s dried up. The question I pose is how many of the suddenly unemployed haven’t bothered to apply for a job at the places that are now looking for workers? Do they think they’re above that? Do they only think of themselves as being willing to do something in their field? I’m working 40 hours a week at a job I could’ve gotten in college. And it won’t pay all that much more than if I had taken unemployment. But it’s a job and I like to feel useful. I’d be curious how many of those 6.6 million people who filed for unemployment this week filled out a job application anywhere. What percentage would you put that at?

  2. I’ve never studied unemployment stats & don’t know how many are the type you describe, jdubs vs those Wally describes above. Since SO MANY BUSINESSES have been forced to (temp? forever?) close down over the past month, I’m guessing the majority that are filing now are legitimately in desperate need (especially since so many Americans have next to no Emergency savings & yes, once again is my particular “hill to stand on”!).

    One of the things you mentioned has me thinking : since we all chip into “unemployment” thru our working lives then those who never actually file for unmemployment by age 65/70 should have some extra money added to their social security! Who’s with me?! 🙂

    When scrolling thru the TV onscreen listings last week or weekend, I think I DID see a ‘stone skipping’ contest! I did not click on it so can’t verify.

    Couple other things : 1st, yesterday on Rachel Maddow’s twitter, she posted that 280 MILLION FACE MASKS in American warehouses were SOLD TO FOREIGN BUYERS just on Monday. WTF?! For the past 2-3 weeks, we see/hear EVERY DAY the desperate need for MORE facemasks for OUR healthcare workers!! Plus, the “SCIENTIFIC EXPERTS” are FINALLY saying “oh, we LIED to you before, the average American SHOULD be wearing a facemask when out in public”. Just kidding – they did NOT admit that they lied before…

    2nd, in a happier “find”, I watched a UK family of 6 singing a COVID-spoof version of “One Day More”. It was AWESOME! 🙂

    And if you (or you & mamadubs) want to post a video snippet of your dancing (singing? cooking?) talents, we’re here for it! 🙂

    Before I toggle off (for now!) – are you in touch with friends that are still back in NYC? Are they all ok? And even though I know you hate the phrase because it usually lacks sincerity or any benefit to the intended, my thoughts are with them.

    LIVE LONG, jdubs. “Prosper” is gonna have to wait a while.

  3. Oh, one more thing – while I’ve never read the book, I’ve seen the film many times on TV. One of my many faves. The 1st viewing was when I was 11-13 & the romantic/sentimental ending had me sniveling happy tears. Not my absolute fave Coleman flick but I liked the two leads together.

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